13 Nov 2014 16:20pm
By Hesron Kapanga
WINDHOEK, 13 NOV (NAMPA) Namibia Premier League (NPL) league administrator Tovey Hoebeb says the decision for teams to play two games per weekend was taken by the football teams, and not the NPL.
He was responding to questions by Nampa on Thursday why the NPL changed their format of teams playing one game per week, or weekend.
During previous seasons when there were just 12 NPL teams, teams would only play one league game per week or weekend.
With the start of the 2014/15 NPL season on 11 October 2014 came the introduction of a 16-team league, and the new schedule has seen teams playing two games per weekend.
A number of local sports reporters and football pundits have echoed their concerns with the standard of football which will be displayed when teams are required to play two games within the space of 24 hours, especially with the league aiming to turn semi-professional in the near future.
Hoebeb, however, said the NPL acted on the football clubs decision to play two games in one weekend due to the resources which teams have.
We only execute what people want because as the NPL we do not have the right to decide on things without consulting our stakeholders, and these are the clubs which play in the Premier League.
In our meeting with the teams, they decided it would be wise and beneficial for teams if they played two games on one weekend as this would help them avoid the burden of having to travel to a place on more than one occasion.
That is a very costly exercise, explained Hoebeb.
When asked by this agency if playing two games a weekend will not affect the quality of the football on display and the leagues turning semi-professional, he indicated that teams are allowed to register 30 players. Hoebeb said this means they should have a lot of talent at their disposal, where they can even use two different teams for weekend games.
We want to turn semi-professional with our league, but to go semi-professional we need to have money.
With the little that we have at the moment, we cannot play one game a weekend, he added.
Hoebeb noted that clubs do not have the finances to travel to Windhoek nine times, or for city-based to also travel non-stop to other regions.
However, if we get more sponsors to support what we already have, this can be looked at, he said.
Approached for comment, Eleven Arrows director of football Frans Samaria said playing two games a weekend is a good move for the teams travelling outside of Windhoek.
We have nine Premier League teams in Windhoek, and financially it will be a costly exercise if we travel there all the time.
Playing two games will save us a lot of money, said Samaria.
Black Africa Sports Club chairperson Boni Paulino echoed Samarias comments, but said the quality of football will suffer with two games per weekend.
Financially, playing two games a weekend makes sense, but the quality of football is going down.
If teams play on Saturday and Sunday, the football on display is very poor, Paulino stated.
Samaria was, however, also of the opinion that football players today lack the character which players had two or three decades ago.
If I speak of our old football days, we played three or four games a week, and today these players cannot even do that.
Todays footballers are more worried about the money.
If you use money as the motive to play football, you will never succeed in your career. My only advice for footballers is to think of football first and money later, he stressed.
The fixtures for this weekends NPL action are as follows:
Civics vs United Stars, 15h30 at Sam Nujoma Stadium
Citizens vs Julinho Sporting, 18h00 at Sam Nujoma Stadium
African Stars vs Blue Water, 15h30 at Independence Stadium
Tura Magic vs Eleven Arrows, 18h00 at Independence Stadium
Citizens vs United Stars, 13h30 at Independence Stadium
Civics vs Julinho Sporting, 16h00 at Independence Stadium
Tura Magic vs Blue Water, 13h30 at Sam Nujoma Stadium
African Stars vs Eleven Arrow, 16h00 at Sam Nujoma Stadium